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The Lead May 3, 2022: Kerr County offers its prayers for Ukraine at vigil

Four Methodist churches come together for a night of prayer and fellowship.

Good morning, Kerr County!

We're going to give it to you straight — the weekend looks blistering. Like, we're ready for summertime, and it's early May. Yes, the forecast seems rough for the rest of the week, with highs in the 90s and into the upper 90s on Saturday. And the overnight lows aren't exactly cooling. #fun.

On today's The Lead Live!

After Monday's mega show of political discourse, we're returning to something a bit more soothing with Jennifer Natale and Leslie Robertson telling us how the Sisters in Service fundraiser finished. Andrew Gay will join us via video conference from a remote site to give us a market update. Wynita Yancy will tell us about her exercise classes at Riverhill Country Club. Kari Bock and Amber Thomason will storm on the show to tell us about Prop. A — the city's $45 million bond measure to finance a new public safety building.

Today's newsletter is sponsored by:

Today's agenda!

Early Voting

  • 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Cailloux Center for the Performing Arts and the Ingram Independent School District

Museums and Art Shows

  • Texas Watercolor Society Annual Exhibit — Hill Country Arts Foundation., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Through June 30. Information: The details: The Hill Country Arts Foundation is hosting the Texas Watercolor Society's 73rd National Exhibit. This exhibit features watercolor pieces by over forty artists from across the United States. In 1949, TWS was founded by Margaret Pace Willson and Amy Freeman Lee with the mission to advance the art of painting in watercolors, and hold annual exhibitions of watercolor paintings. Today, more than 60 years later, TWS continues to promote the high standards set by its founders. Thus, as a national exhibit, TWS proudly takes its place among the elite watercolor organizations in the nation.
  • Heaven's Declare Art Exhibition (Recurring through Saturday) — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. Information: The details: Featuring works by renowned artists who celebrate the heavens. The exhibition will feature works by Phil Bob Borman, G. Russell Case, Tim Newton, Laurel Daniel, Linda Glover Gooch, David Griffin, David Grossman, Michael Magrin, Denise LaRue Mahlke, Phil Starke and John Taft.
  • KACC Exhibits (Recurring through Saturday) — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: "Monday Painters" members of the Monday Artists painters group exhibit, Paintings by Laura Roberts, "Guadalupe Watercolor Group" judged watercolor exhibit by members of the GWG. Artist reception April 30th, 1–3 p.m.
  • Need to plan your week? Visit here:

The Monday edition of the Lead!

The last hour of our two-hour The Lead Live! on Monday may have been our most heated, passionate and argumentative in our short history. With guests Brent Bates, who is running for Kerrville mayor, and City Council candidates Robin Monroe and Katy Chapman Hanna on the show to present their points of view. We also pushed back against some of their claims. Here's the video from the interview:

Prayer for Ukraine

With the Ukraine flag on display, Rev. Glenn Luhrs welcomed those coming to the prayer vigil on Monday night at St. Paul's United Methodist Church.

All you need is love! At least that was the hope Monday night at St. Paul's United Methodist Church during a prayer vigil for Ukraine and Russia.

The three-month-old war has led to more than 9,000 civilian deaths, with some Ukranianian estimates at more than 24,000 killed. Ukraine's armed forces suffered at least 4,000 dead, while the United States estimates Russia's death toll is now more than 10,000.

And with that in mind, more than 50 people gathered at the Methodist Encampment church to pray, fellowship and sing in support of not only Ukraine but Russia. The vigil was the idea of the leaders of Hunt United Methodist Church, Barnett United Methodist Church, Kerrville First United Methodist Church and St. Paul's.

"Recognizing that we're a community of faith, drawing together to pray with and for the people of Ukraine and all of those countries that are supporting Ukraine," said Rev. Glenn Luhrs, who leads St. Paul's congregation. "We're praying for the people of Russia and we are in prayer for ultimately peace as well."

The service features prayers from Hunt's Rev. Paul Harris, Barnett Chapel's Rev. Maurice Washington, First United Methodist's Donna Magee and Luhrs.

"Love everybody, regardless of how they look, sound, and what country they come from — just love them," Washington said.

Rev. Maurice Washington of Barnett Chapel United Methodist Church.

Washington's sermon set the tone for the evening, heavy on Christ's sacrifice and redemption and using those lessons to assess what's happening in Ukraine.

"We have to use a word we Christians don't like to use — hate," Washington said. "We have to hate. We don't hate people. We hate the evil. We hate the evil. We have the greed of the president of Russia, who sent his evil against their neighbors. They are the same basic culture that they are. I don't understand it. We hate the grab of power. We hate the lies that are told to the Russian people about why they are going into Ukraine. We hate the bigotry and the racism. But we still love."

First United Methodist's Magee built upon Washinton's words but offered a point about the Russian side. Magee drew from 1 Timothy 2:1-2 — a verse where the Apostle Paul gives direction to Timothy.

"I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity."

Magee's message was direct that while it was hard to imagine praying for Russian President Vladimir Putin, she said the answer was in 1 Timothy 2:3-4: "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."

To see more photos from the event visit our photo gallery: The Lead Photos

Dr. David Sprouse makes first appearance on The Lead

After 24 years on the Kerrville Independent School District board of trustees, Dr. David Sprouse said he finds the work energizing. On Monday, Sprouse, a Kerrville family practitioner, chatted with us about why he's seeking another term on the school board — although this time, he's facing a re-election battle against Kerrville chiropractor Dr. Zach Sumrall.

Here's the interview, in the first segment of Monday's show.

Here are three takeaways from our conversation with Dr. Sprouse.

Student and district achievement in Kerrville remains top-notch

"I think the district stands in a great position, and that's due to hard work by lots and lots of people. I've played my role, but that's a very minor role. You think of how hard the students are working. How hard the teachers are working. The administrators. The parents who support those students and teachers. It's all a team effort. But I think the school district stands both from an academic and a financial standpoint in a very strong position."

Retaining teachers means affordable housing.

"So, there are challenges in our community and challenges statewide in teaching and teachers. In our community, affordable housing is a big, big challenge. The hospital faces the same challenge. They have nurses who want to come to Kerrville and work for the Peterson system as a nurse. They start looking at housing and can't find what they can afford."

About why he wants another term

"I still have a lot of enthusiasm to continue to use my years of experience and perspective and wisdom to help our district get better and better. I love our community, and I love being of service to something other than just focused on my career or focused on myself. You know, when I first got on the school board, I had other school board members who had more years of experience than I did. I served with Judge Keith Williams and Judge Rob Kelly — before they were judges. They were school board members when I first got on the school board. They had lots of experience I depended on and gained from. And I think that now at this length of tenure on my school board service, I have that to offer to our school board and then by extension offered that to our school system in our community."

Harley Belew's wild day on the air

If Harley Belew weren't on the Kerr County Commissioner's Court, we'd never have a reason to listen to the Hill Country Patriot radio station. On Monday, the radio host/commissioner uncorked some doozies you can't ignore. — and strangely, the final hour of his three-hour show is missing. Just some of the highlights:

  • Belew admits that he doesn't pay attention to Kerrville politics or issues, even though he represents Precinct 1, mainly inside the city limits. Belew said he was "told" that the new public safety building was supposed to cost $10 million but ballooned to $45 million. For several years, Kerrville planned for a building to house the police department, fire administration and the municipal court. The rise of COVID-19 and the winter storm in 2021 changed some of those plans, emphasizing an emergency operations center. As the project's development continued, the information technology department suggested it would be best suited to the building because much of their work connects to public safety.
  • Carefully omitting that the county plans to float $30 million in bonds in November, Belew suggested that Ingram Independent School District was sneaking in its $25 million bond to pay for significant upgrades to the school district.
  • Belew said that The Kerrville Daily Times and the city of Kerrville, with the possibility of a "candidate," had conspired to release a story last weekend about mayoral candidate Brent Bates losing a Municipal Court case over a code-enforcement complaint filed by the city. Since Belew doesn't pay attention, he had no way of knowing that The Daily Times was a distant third on the story — which broke on April 18. Belew continued to suggest that Bates' opponent, Judy Eychner, should be required to claim an in-kind donation for the story. "This ought to be paid for by the Eychner campaign," Belew said. Belew called the report a "slime job" and said he would have loved to have been at the meeting that decided the story.
  • Not done yet, Belew took on Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha and his office. Via a text message, which Belew read on the air, a reader complained that a sheriff's deputy didn't write a ticket over a fender bender in a private parking lot. Belew then opined that people don't want to work and that the sheriff's deputies don't want to do paperwork. "This seems to be the case all around," Belew said. "These officers don't want to do anything anymore. They don't want to do paperwork. They don't want to confront anyone."


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